The Old 96er

     If there is one relic of our civilization archeologists will find in nine hundred years and proclaim “this is where the end began,” it could touch on any one of several topics. My guess would be a copy of any episode of the Travel Channel’s “Man vs. Food.”
     In case you’re unfamiliar with the premise of the show, it pretty much consists of the host traveling around the country stuffing his face with some of the most nutritionally lethal food on the planet.
     The gist of the show is that host Adam Richman bounces from dive to respectable restaurant to even worse dive in various cities around the country, pretty much eating anything that gets within a few feet of his mouth. It’s not the regular restaurants he visits that would give pause to our mythical future archeologist. After all, there’s nothing inherently dangerous to civilization about eating a plate of fried chicken.
     It’s the vast majority of other food this guy eats, on each episode, that puts the capital “G” in glutton. In Sarasota he tried to eat ten hot wings (and failed after two) at a place that had a “sandwich” which consists of six quarter pound cheeseburgers, six full-sized cheese steaks with 17 slices of cheese, chicken fingers, onion rings, French fries, and mozzarella sticks on a full slab of French bread, covered in cheddar cheese sauce. In Atlanta he stumbles upon a 13-pound pizza. You read that correct, 13 pounds.
     The whole point of the show is that the host tries to conquer some crazy food challenge a restaurant has created to make a name for itself on the local scene. Extremely hot chicken wings, pizzas that weigh more than bowling balls, sandwiches that ooze heart disease.
     Here’s the rub. It’s not the fact that this guy is making some horrible personal health decisions. It’s the fact he’s actually making a living doing it that might trigger the beginning of the end. Or rather, the fact that people are watching him do this, for their own entertainment.
     When society has nothing better to do than watch a man kill himself with food, we might be reaching the tipping point. I’m just saying.

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